About an hour ago, the Turkish Armed Forces and allied Syrian Turkmen contingents fighting under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) banner captured Bza’ah after ISIS militants abandoned the town without firing a single shot following the fall of Al-Bab on Thursday morning.
Bza’ah was originally seized by joint Euphrates Shield forces on February 4 but was retaken by ISIS the following day. Despite at least three additional assaults, the Turkish Army and FSA were unable to seize the town through conventional warfare.
On Thursday, ISIS commanders reportedly ordered their fighters to abandon Al-Bab and its neighbouring areas in order to reinforce collapsing frontlines at Deir Hafer and Raqqa.
Subsequently, Islamic State militants have exited the nearby embattled town of Qabasin. Moments ago, FSA units also infiltrated the latter town although booby traps are said to have caused some casualties.
Ahrar al-Sham also posted pictures of its militants inside Al-Bab, suggesting the Islamist faction to be involved in the Turkish-backed offensive.
Further south, the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces captured two villages from ISIS in the early morning hours. Some speculations suggest this may have prompted ISIS to withdraw from Al-Bab.